VMAs 2013: Might Sound Crazy, But It Ain't No Lie...

Monday, August 26, 2013

It's been years since I've actually watched the VMAs in real time. Years. But seeing as I have so much free time on my hands these days, I tuned in last night at 9pm while I finished cooking dinner. Although I'm convinced that the VMA performances of the past few years are subpar compared to those of 10 years ago, here are some of my highlights from last night's awards.

Lady Gaga's Opening Performance. Judging from what I'm reading on social networking sites and other blogs, I may be a minority of one but I actually liked Lady Gaga opening the show and I enjoyed her performance. This could be because I adore her new song, Applause, but I saw it as a creative, upbeat performance, I liked her homage to her past album covers and I thought it was just riskay enough for Lady Gaga standards without being too over the top and raunchy (see Miley Cyrus' performance). She began in a strange outfit that reminded me a nun's habit with a white rectangle framing her face. It freaked me out a little bit, but it would've been Lady Gaga without some fantastic head gear. Gaga transitioned from costume to costume rather seamlessly and did most of it right on stage which I thought was interesting (costume changes are usually portrayed as "showbiz magic" or something happening behind the scenes).

Kanye's Blacked-Out Performance. The best way I can describe this is perfect. I thought it was a phenomenal performance for a few reasons and even rewound to watch it again. I have to admit that I loved it before it started because he was introduced by Jared Leto, lead singer of one of my favorite bands, 30 Seconds to Mars. But I also loved the messages within the somewhat dark performance. Although Kevin Hart commented that the blacked-out performance served to remind everyone that Kanye "is a god" as his song "I Am a God" would suggest, I saw a much humbler message as well.

Kanye began the song simply with a very dim, soft light illuminating his face as he sang for the first minute. As the beat drops, the lighting shifts and although we can only see 'Ye's shadowed figure, a large photo of New Orleans "lynching trees" shines bright in the background. I found this scene to be very fitting for 'Ye's hit "Blood On The Leaves." The song features a sample of Nina's Simone's cover of "Strange Fruit", a song which comments on the state of slavery and lynchings that occurred in the south.  In my opinion, the staging of this performance suggested that this performance was not about the artist but rather the song's message - nothing matters except for the vocals and the image. It highlighted 'Ye's movements and as he bounced around the stage in a manner that resembled a "praise dance" of sorts, I felt his emotion, his spirit if you will. He's probably the only artist that could've pulled of such a performance and I loved it. I thought it was the perfect way to perform that track and it may have been my favorite performance of the night.

Justin Timberlake's 15 minute Video Vanguard Award Performance. JT gave me just what I needed - a dose of those huge late-90s/early-2000s productions, those mega-performances from years past. Reminiscent of the skits that use to accompany performances, he entered from backstage with a pose of dancers surrounding him. JT highlighted some of his major hits as an artist, playing the piano for his song Senorita, and  dancing his way through a fan favorites, Like I Love You & My Love. Fast-forward to 9:05 for the best part!

One word, *NSYNC! I had heard rumors that they would be reuniting on stage and so part of my intent in watching JT's performance was in anticipation of the moment those 5 guys would line up. And when it happened, I reverted back to a 12 year-old, crazed fan and curled up on my couch in excitement (See Taylor Swift's reaction? That was pretty much me). JT says "Let's show these young boys how to do it", after which the boys performed part of 2 of their hit songs, Girlfriend and Bye Bye Bye (of course!).  I felt like I was transported back to the early 2000s, except Joey was a little hefty, Chris was missing his dreads and Lance was out of sync at times. But my favorite band member JC? JC was on point. Not only was he killing those dance moves, but his voice ran out over the harmonies, reminding me of how talented he really is (It's a shame that his solo career didn't take off. Click here to listen to some of his amazing vocals. The guy's got talent!).
Bottom line, Justin should've closed out the show. I mean, I respect Katy Perry and her performance was great, but after JT, no other performance could even hold a candle.

What did you think of the 2013 VMAs? *nostalgically dances around to *NSYNC's debut album blasting through her speakers* :)



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    Lovely greets


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